Convincing Bosses

I happen to work for a company that is amongst the country’s biggest online advertisers. Most of the monies are spent on the traditional lead generating sources: online banner ads and Google/Yahoo pay-per-click programs. These online marketing efforts have been successfully delivering the organizational marketing goals so far….which is all very good.
But the flip side to this is that it becomes difficult to convince your bosses that an alternative source of online marketing may also generate as much revenue….at least that it is worth a try.
I am coming from a presentation we had the other day on Blogging and Affiliate Marketing. Both these methods of marketing are comparatively new to India. Our competition, we know, has tried it without much success. We were supposed to convince the marketing team that these ‘fads’ in the Indian Online Industry would eventually help us in creating a stronger brand, manage consumer perceptions and generate additional revenue for the company.
The presentation went fine…the team (which predominantly had an offline marketing background) was wide eyed with interest as we elaborated on the concept of blogging and affiliate marketing with their pros and cons. However, when it came to initiating action points for concrete measures to use these channels, we felt the team vibes change to that of mistrust and disinterest. To add to our woes, we found that we hardly had any data to back our claims.
So new is the industry and so little is the amount of research done in this sphere that marketers nation wide face a not-so-surprising dearth of data on sales projection figures, success stories, case studies. As any manager would know, in the absence of such material, selling a new marketing concept to the team, especially one which involves money spends, becomes quite an exasperating task.
The Indian Online Industry, as I have mentioned before is at a very nascent stage. It is only an 8-30 age group that is truly internet savvy and makes its purchase decisions via the internet (to a certain extent).
Marketers in this country will have to wait a few years more to convince bosses that the rules of this industry are slightly different. But the earlier companies wake up to the potential of the Indian Internet phenomenon, the better will they be able to monetize on the coming generation of fiercely net savvy individuals.


State of Online Advertising in India today

The urban Indian population is getting more and more involved with the internet in solving their everyday communication, socializing, and information needs. The savvy young Indian today goes online to shop for his mobile, to pay his bills online, to know more about the latest car in the market, and to download the syllabus of his post graduation course. While the level of involvement is definitely on an increase, internet dependency is yet to reach a common Indian’s life and become an everyday necessity. The lack of information related to Indian socio-political interests, on the internet is appalling.

A few days back, I tried to look up the nearest pet store in New Delhi (the capital of the country). My search-lasting about 20 minutes, refused to yield anything substantial.

My quest for knowledge of the common “Indian Rabbit” again yielded next to 0 results. On the contrary, sitting in India, I had the opportunity of knowing the UK and American rabbits (wild and domestic) down to a great level of detail.

Being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, this scanty presence of India on the internet is surprising and being an Indian myself, quite embarrassing.
I have been working for one of the biggest advertisers in the Indian internet space for some time now. So, by virtue of my job requirements, I have interacted with the major service providers and the big time agencies that handle mature online advertising spends.

In my various interactions, I have often come across a certain apathy in many Indian Brand Managers towards the efficacy of this medium. The same apathy is reflected in the attitude of the various service providers that intend (half heartedly) to expand business in this country. [Yahoo, for example has not launched Panama in India, yet. MSN does not even bother to have a customer care unit for its Indian Advertisers.]

This is surprising, considering that this country is a major IT talent-hub and boasts of some of the best brains in the IT field. Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai have emerged as very cost effective talent pools of human resource.

This wide spread Indian apathy to the biggest technological transformation of recent times, coupled with the fact that India continues to be a blind spot for the major Internet Service Providers, may lead to an overall slowing down of the much touted great Indian IT revolution.